City as Muse

by HRM on May 23, 2012

A collection of the Best Paris Stories

Paris has been a destination for writers ever since, well, ever since writing narrative fiction became an activity. This city is both subject and object of the books that are written about it. Take the two best-selling books at Shakespeare & Company – The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and A Moveable Feast – in each, the city is both setting and character.

The most recent collection stories about Paris – Best Paris Stores, edited by Laurel Zuckerman of Paris Writers News – will be published on May 29th with a launch party at the American Library in Paris. I was interested in how the writers selected for this collection consider Paris. Here, they discuss – in 140 characters or less, the maximum size of a Tweet – what role Paris has in their writing.

Best Paris Stories

Note: The only story I’ve read in this collection is one by Her Royal Majesty advisory editor Nafkote Tamirat, whose story “Our Pharmacy” was previously published in issue 10 of HRM.  If the rest of the stories in Best Paris Stories are as good as this one, then we are all in for a (moveable) feast.

Rue de Sévigné, boulevard Diderot,
rue Raymond Aron, place Colette,
quai François Mauriac, rue Françoise Dolto.
But where is Marcel Proust?
Marie Houzelle, author of “May” and “Hortense on Tuesday Night”

Paris was a 19 yr old girl with a guitar strapped to her back. Decades later, Paris still hums its background – no matter where I am.
Lisa Burkitt, author of “A Pinch of Tarragon”

My muse walks the cobbles of Paris.  It is in the tawdry form of a gamine that she garners my inspiration.  She winks like a coquette and I am hooked.
Jim Archibald, author of “The Baker of Vaugirard

Paris wants to be my main character.  She’s a beautiful woman always trying to seduce and usually succeeding.  She makes you feel that life is great, people are interesting and art rules.
Jane M. Handel, author of “The Way You Looked at Me”

Paris sits at the centre, teeming with energetic and ambitious immigrants, light years from the tourist clichés.
Mary Byrne, author of “Frank Stands His Ground, In Belleville”

A saxophone heard through an apartment’s open window.  A young couple embracing on a Metro platform… More than this, ‘Paris’ connotes change.
Bob Levy, author of “My Sunday with God”.

By never feeling familiar, Paris has made itself invaluable to what I do.
Nafkote Tamirat, author of “Our Pharmacy”.

Buying fresh dorade from Francois and bouquets of basil from Gloria at the Marché Windsor on a Wednesday morning; talking politics with Pascal at our local Casino.
Jeannine Alter, author of “That Summer, with my Dad, In Paris”

A combination of eye candy and caca sometimes make for a tasty cake.
Jo Nguyen, author of “Brazzaville – Belleville Express”

When I’m in Paris and when I speak French, I feel like someone else, a figure from my family’s past, or my own alter ego. I inhabit these people when I write.
Julia Lichtblau, author of “Désolée, Monsieur”

Best Paris Stories is available on Amazon Kindle in all countries now for 2.99 (in $, £ and euros) and in paperback as of May 31 for 9.99.   Below are the links:

  France   UK

   France   UK 

For news, Best Paris Stories Blog  and twitter @parisshortstory

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